June 22, 2021
By Tammy Ritchie and Cheryl Steenerson
Our friend Eric discovered his love of art several years ago and he has progressed his talent so much that he now teaches others!
Eric is a shy young man with a very caring heart. He started learning about art from his DSP, who was a former teacher. He never knew how much he could do, and the beauty he could create, until then.
His painting skills have progressed so much that with some positive encouragement he offered to share his skills with a few others. The wonders of Zoom have enabled him to connect with new friends and their staff. Some friends are still quarantining at home and this was a wonderful opportunity for them to interact safely!
Eric recently started teaching very young students, with parental approval, how to paint pictures and learn about the wonderful world of colors. He has also been meeting new adult consumers who also have artistic talents to share. This new endeavor has truly expanded Eric’s socialization and communication skills.
June 18, 2021
By: Pamela R. McDaniel
Work gives individuals a sense of purpose and self-worth. For many, it defines who we are, and how we fit into society. Work helps improve individual and family finances, and it helps us connect socially. All individuals, regardless of disability, deserve the opportunity to be full members of their community where they can live, learn, work and play at every stage of life their life.
We are so proud of the people we support! Our supported employment specialist serve to help individuals find and maintain gainful employment in the community to create more fulfilling lives for themselves.
Larry – A Natural Born Worker
Day one of working at Moon Dumpsters, Larry’s supervisor was so impressed with his work, that he contacted the head owner. Larry’s supervisor reported to the owner, that Larry not only did his job, but he took the initiative to complete other task without being told. The owner askes to speak with Larry, and gave him the highest compliment telling him, “Larry, I’ve heard nothing but good news about you. You are the best worker we have hired in a long time. Keep up the good work!” Having this job makes Larry feel more independent, and responsible. “I am working to build my finances, and put my life back together so that I can get a place of my own. I feel blessed to have a job”, Larry stated. Regardless of what his background looks like, Larry decides to seek help, and move forward to better himself, and become a productive member of society.
Austin – Gaining Confidence and Building Skills
Austin has been employed at his first job at Goodwill for two months. Austin is diagnosed with Autism and suffers from anxiety, especially in unfamiliar places. Supported employment orientation/training helped him to have a good start with his job assignments. Austin’s supervisor is pleased with him and his work. Recently, she stated, “Austin is wonderful and a pleasure to have. Everyone loves him and he keeps all of us laughing. He is phenomenal!" Austin enjoys his job and is happy that it is a great fit for him. Working has improved Austin’s ability to socialize with co-workers, and build relationships that he would not have otherwise had.
Lana – First Job to Independence
Stuffing from a traumatic brain injury, Lana was total hands on when she came to the supported employment program. She started her first job at Marshall’s about six months ago, requiring prompts, redirecting, and constant supervision. After working with the employment specialist, we are happy to report that Lana is completing her task without being told. She has taken on more job task at work, allowing her to realize how much she can learn and do on her own.
Supported employment is about helping people with significant disabilities enter or re-enter the labor force. Individuals who participate in our supported employment program are encouraged, equipped, and empowered in the gifts, and talents God has placed in them. We pride ourselves on seeing ability, and not disability!
September 13, 2019
Path Forward of KY nominated Dejuana Trumbo for the DSP of the Year award for the annual KAPP (Kentucky Association of Private Providers) confernece. Dejuana was selected as one of 8 honorable mentions. Dejuana is an excellent DSP who has served in our field for 10 years, the last 4 being with Path Forward. Dejuana’s quality of care is unmatched, according to guardians and supervisor. Dejuana typically works long hours with two participants, helping them progress goals daily.
The CLS participant has gone from a service life to a full community life, in less than 4 years. As her own guardian, this participant needed to learn to read, manage money, cook, get her driver’s license and manage a home. She has succeeded in all goals! After learning about healthy relationships, the participant found a life partner and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy last year. Dejuana guided her through her pregnancy, from parenting skills to visiting her at the hospital (50 miles away), during the birthing process, on her own time. To say this DSP goes above and beyond the call of duty is an understatement. A shy young lady, unsure of herself in every way, the participant blossomed into a woman with a life and family thanks to the hard work and caring heart of Dejuana.
Her 2nd participant is noncommunicative, and requires assistance with all ADLs. Confined to a wheelchair and on a pureed diet, this participant enjoys listening to music and going outside on nice days. Prior to Dejuana coming into their lives, the guardian was the sole caregiver. The number of positive accolades from mom on Dejuana could fill a book! Mom has felt comfortable enough to restart her social life, after 25 years! The participant has had zero care issues and laughs with joy every day. Dejuana Trumbo is truly a gifted Direct Support Professional that succeeds in making a positive difference in the lives of her participants every day of service.
August 12, 2019
Denise Knight and Teresa Lonkard
Paulette has always been passionate about learning and about achieving her goals. When she learned about the College Connections program through Down Syndrome of Louisville with a partnership with JCTC, she knew she wanted to be a part of it. On May 23, 2019, after almost 3 years of hard work and determination, Paulette celebrated graduating college at Jefferson Community and Technical College. Paulette enjoyed taking part in classes including Life Skills, which she attended with several of her peers. She then chose a variety of integrated courses including African American Music History, Drawing, and History of Rock and Roll. She reported that she loved her music classes and learned a lot. After giving a speech during her ceremony about what graduating meant to her, she celebrated her accomplishment with her family home provider and her siblings. She said it was a “great day” and she was sure to let all of her friends know about her graduation. Paulette shared that her mother had always told her that she could graduate college and she wanted to complete the program for her mother. Paulette is excited to have her certificate of completion and to be a college graduate. She is ready to go out and change the world. Congratulations Paulette!
May 22, 2019
In this edition of our employee spotlight, we would like to introduce our two case managers: Teresa Lonkard and Breanna Burton. Teresa and Breanna focus on advocacy for each individual they work with and ensure teamwork and continuity of quality of care for everyone on their caseloads. Their passion for helping others shines through in their work every day, as they assist others to achieve their goals and dreams. Here is what their journey has meant to them in their own words:
My best friend, Sean, has a rare form of Cerebral Palsy wherein he is primarily wheelchair bound, but has no cognitive symptoms. We met in college and he now does computer security for a large insurance company. Throughout college and afterwards people would often assume I was his girlfriend or care provider and direct questions towards me. They were usually surprised when Sean responded or when they found out I was just a friend. Though being friends with him, and his twin brother, who has a mild intellectual disability, I learned a lot about a population I rarely interacted with and started seeing individuals as more than just their appearance. After about two years of being friends with Sean, I didn’t see or think about his disability. I once turned around to tell him to hurry up when I was going up some steps because I forgot he wasn’t able to follow me and had to wait for the elevator. He told me it was both hilarious and one of the biggest compliments he could ever receive.
I’ve been working in the human services field for almost 4 years (since June 2015). I started by working as a Mental Health technician at Our Lady of Peace. It could be a tough job, but without working there, I don’t think I would love or be as successful as a case manager. I love advocating for my clients, solving problems and finding ways to maximize services. It means a lot to me that I’m just one person, but can start a chain reaction of improvements in someone’s life.
Seeing a client, who developed anorexia, for the first time after he started receiving behavior supports, has been the most memorable moment I’ve had since being in their field. This client has recently been hospitalized due to how much weight he had lost. After working with his behaviorist for a few weeks, he was already began to change his habits. He looked much healthier, happier and said he felt better than he had in the past few months.
Through this line of work, I’ve learned to see what people are capable of, not just what they are currently doing. Since many clients struggle with effective communication I’ve become more observant of body language and am a better communicator. I always try to ensure I understand specifically what a client wants/thinks along with the rest of the team through re-phrasing statements and questions. This has also helped me in my everyday life, as I can often find a way to explain something in a way everyone can understand regardless of his or her level of functioning. I’ve also gained knowledge of the Medicaid and Social Security systems and benefits, which I’ve been able to utilize when I speak with my friends or family members who have disabilities or are unsure for what benefits they qualify. I’ve been able to assist individuals outside of work with locating information and providing resources/guidance concerning benefits.
To me, being a service provider is a big deal. It’s about meeting people’s needs and promoting overall quality of life for the people you work with. No matter what population you’re working with, being a service provider means devoting your days to helping people who need support. To be a service provider means you need to have passion and it should not be taken lightly. I’ve been working in the human service field for the past four years and it has been the most rewarding four years of my life.
I have so many favorite moments since being in the human service field but the most memorable would have to be when one of the consumers I was providing community living support services for texted me months after I stopped working with him to show me that he passed his drivers’ permit test. I had been working with him for a year and we spent a lot of time together studying for his drivers’ permit test. He took it a few times and kept failing by one or two points. When I saw that he finally passed, I was so happy for him and it warmed my heart knowing that he made it a point to share his good news with me although we hadn’t talked or seen one another in a few months.
Everyone’s life is different. Everyone has a story. Each person’s life events, from the day they were born to the age they are now, has shaped them into the person they are today. Show compassion and be intentional about your everyday interactions with others. You never know how much impact you can make on someone’s life.
January 31, 2019
The Supports for Community Living Waiver and the Michelle P waiver are Medicaid paid services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. These waivers are intended to assist individuals to live and participate in the community rather than in an institutional setting. Currently, there is a waiting list for both the SCL and MP waivers. There are close to 7000 people on the MP Waiver waitlist and 2500 on the SCL waitlist.
Path Forward of KY is now offering a private pay option for people who need and want individualized services but are not on a Medicaid waiver. We are offering all services that we currently provide through the waivers by the same direct support professionals who provide waiver services.
The services that Path Forward of KY provides are:
Community Living Supports/Personal Assistance/Companion Care: a one on one service that enables an individual to accomplish tasks to increase independence and promote integration into the community. This service offers support and assistance with routine household tasks, maintenance, activities of daily living, shopping, socialization, relationship building, leisure choices, and participation in community activities.
Case Management: assists individuals with disabilities navigate services, benefits, medical appointments, and advocates on behalf of the individual.
Respite: support needed due to the absence of or need for relief for the primary caregiver.
Behavior Support: professionally trained behavior specialist use positive approaches and ABA therapy techniques to help decrease challenging behaviors and increase coping skills and social skills.
Supported Employment: ongoing job support after funding is no longer available through Office of Vocational Rehabilitation. We will assist the individual in maintaining employment in an integrated setting with competitive wages.
If you are interested in learning more about our private pay services you can contact our office at 502-451-2565 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
January 23, 2019
In 2008, the face of the global economy changed forever. America was in the height of the 2008 Recession. Investment banks, the secondary credit market, and an unregulated financial market disappeared. The housing market collapsed. Central banks around the world propped up the financial system. In September of that year, America came very close to total economic collapse. New inventions still made a difference! 2008 saw a camera for the blind, electric cars, instant replay for baseball, No Country for Old Men won Critic’s Choice Best Film and Alex Sholtz and Jim Bratcher rolled up their sleeves and started the work to establish the very successful Path Forward of Kentucky!
The first service to be offered by PFK was Supported Employment. This service assists consumers in navigating the State’s Vocational Rehabilitation program and puts them on a path of employment, out in their communities, by providing job coaches. Today, the coaches guide consumers thru the entire employment process, from resumes to interviewing and finally on-the-job support for over 94 job placements in 2018.
Case Management services followed Supported Employment and today works with 34 consumers to put together a full menu of waiver services. Community Living Supports, Personal Care and Respite services were then added and exponentially grew the company, by hiring and training Direct Support Professionals throughout the Louisville Metro Region. These services help consumers become as independent as possible, in all aspects of their life, as well as provide their guardians with essential breaks from 24/7 care.
Acquired Brain Injury Waivers joined the list not long after, followed by residential services in the form of Family Home Providers. By 2012, Path Forward of KY had grown around Kentucky to include Supported Employment services in the Bowling Green Region and created the Bluegrass Region, serving 10 counties in central KY for both Michelle P and Supports for Community Living waiver services.
After getting the company up and running, like a well-oiled machine, the Executive Director position was handed down in 2013 from Alex to Brittany Knoth, our current ED. Brittany has led the way in professional development and team building while establishing the name of Path Forward as a respected leader in the field of Medicaid Services. In 2018, Brittany was honored by being selected to serve on the Centralized Quality Management Advisory Subpanel for the Medicaid Waivers Redesign. Today, Brittany excels in both management style and substance, leading growth and rock solid teamwork!
Over this past decade, PFK has grown to be financially sound by using a common sense approach while keeping quality and compassion top of mind. As chief motivator, Jim Bratcher, likes to say, “The main thing is and always will be the main thing at PFK; the folks we serve. That will always be our focus!”
Touching the lives of more than 200 consumers and guardians, closing in on half a million hours of service, PFK has a well-earned reputation of fine service driven by teamwork. We can’t wait to see what the next decade holds in store for us.
January 13, 2019
It is not every day that you get an all-expense paid trip to Hollywood to tape a TV show! That is exactly what Melissa Healy, a PFK family home provider, got to do in early December. It all started when she was just having fun with her family and playing with her three dogs. She posted a funny video of her 13-year-old dog, Mocha, on social media and it quickly gained attention and a lot of comments. One of those comments suggested that Melissa post her video on the America’s Funniest Home Videos website. Melissa thought, “why not?” and sent the video to them one night and did not think much else of it. Two weeks later, Melissa got a call from the show and was told that not only did the producers want the video on the show, but that she would be a finalist! “I was in disbelief,” reported Melissa, “I never thought I would have an opportunity like this in my life.” America’s Funniest Home Videos gets over 5,000 video submissions each week and there is a less than 1% chance of being a finalist on the show. Melissa enjoyed her first time on an airplane, traveling to Hollywood for the taping of the episode, and sightseeing at places like Manhattan Beach and Hollywood Boulevard for the remainder of that weekend. She got to bring her husband, Steve, with her on the trip and Melissa said it was “one of the most exciting things they have done together in their 28 years of marriage.” They even got to meet host Alfonso Ribeiro and take pictures with him. Be sure to tune in to America’s Funniest Home Videos on Sunday, January 13th at 7pm on ABC to see Melissa compete for the grand prize!
October 26, 2018
Meet Brennen Cabrera!
Brennen is a 21 year old self-taught artist in Louisville who has autism. Brennen’s passion for art began when he was only three years old. When his mother was preaching at their church on Sunday mornings, Brennen would sit in the pews and draw with just paper, pencils, and pens. After his parents began to take notice in his artistic ability, they would buy him drawing books that allowed him to free draw. Throughout elementary school, Brennen was put in a lot of art classes and camps. Brennen learned a lot of information from those art classes and eventually gained the confidence to instruct his own water color class at his church. Brennen was only in middle school when he began instructing art classes and workshops. From then, Brennen has instructed several art workshops through Zoom Group and The Council on Developmental Disabilities. Now he teaches art to a student at the School of the Blind. In his free time when he is not teaching art or working at the local Flower Shoppe, Brennen loves to paint whatever comes to mind. Brennen believes the inspiration for his work comes from all of the different emotions he feels on a daily basis. “I want people to feel what I am painting” says Brennen. He has a lot of his paintings hanging to decorate his apartment and others that he has sold to people in the community. Brennen has had the opportunity to have one of his paintings hanging in City Hall. There will be a press release for all of the artists to showcase their art. The date for the press release is to be determined. Brennen loves being able to participate in art events that aren’t just for people who have intellectual disabilities, because he wants people to know that his autism doesn’t define him as a person. “I want my art to be reflected as great art, not ‘great art for someone who has autism’” Brennen says. Path Forward loves seeing Brennen sharing his art work with the Louisville community. His unique personality is expressed in all of his artwork and gives us a glimpse of who Brennen is. Thanks for sharing your passion with us Brennen!